Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’
Mothie, sportboat, skiff sailor, and occasional softball shortstop Eric Aakhus gets us up to speed on some of the shenanigans happening over in the 50th State. And while you might not be a classic rock or AC/DC fan, we guarantee you that you’ll like this version of the title song that inspired Eric and his team last weekend.
Lahaina Yacht Club wasn’t prepared for the thunderstorm that pummeled the West Coast of Maui this Labor Day weekend. And no – we aren’t talking about yet another hyperbolic hurricane warning. We’re talking about the Oahu Thundercocks!
Many are aware of the downwind race from Lahaina to Waikiki that takes place every Labor Day, but the real battle goes down on the Lahaina softball field between teams from Oahu and Maui. For the last 17 years this game has been dominated by the Maui team, with Oahu taking the prize only once during what was deemed to be a fluke year. 2014 wouldn’t go down the same way.
This year, Oahu came prepared. Armed with 1,000 Thundercock temp tattoos, a battle flag made by the Honolulu Ullman Sails loft, and a mercilessly rowdy crowd, the team saw Lahaina transformed into a scene from Dante’s Peak by Monday morning. The T-Cock entourage spent the days leading up to the game tramp-stamping the town with their logo – everyone from bartenders to the weathered local cougars with expired bolt-ons sported tattoos in places that would make any sailor blush.
Come game time, the Cocks came out swinging and lit up the scoreboard in the first inning. With a visiting crowd that humiliated the local team’s fans, Oahu never looked back, going on to win by a score of 56-3 (or something similarly embarrassing, though no one can apparently remember the final score). Immediately after the game the Cocks celebrated in historic fashion, exchanging contact info with local law enforcement and getting cut off from the Lahaina YC bar by 5pm – something that would never have happened at Kaneohe Yacht Club.
Sometime after dark the party moved to Maui Atomic Tattoo where a couple Thundercocks had to pony up a piece of their soul. Lets just say for these two players, sitting on the rail during a 12 hour race the next day would be a burning reminder of the glory.
In past years the Thundercocks have been known to show up to the field still firing from the night before, full of excuses including exhaustion, lack of practice, and biased local umpires. But this year the difference came in the form of a new Head Coach, Bill Riddle. Bill is a multiple time Softball World Series champion from the 70′s (apparently this is a thing), and a local KYC legend who whipped our boys into winning shape (think Patches O’Houlihan with a sailboat). When asked what was different about the team on that particular Sunday morning Riddle replied, “We’re not that drunk…”
*Let it be known that the Lahaina YC team is not built from sailors, but adult softball league Cat 3 from a nearby Maui league. The winning Thundercocks are just a bunch of degenerate yachties (and definite Cat 1 softball players) from Kaneohe YC. As any local (or America’s Cup competitor -ed] will tell you, ya can’t spell ‘Dynasty’ without ‘Nasty’!
September 4th, 2014 by admin
Hurricane Iselle’s forecast strength has increased over the past 12 hours to over 100 knots currently, and she looks set to roll straight through the Hawaiian islands in the middle of the week. Now’s the time to pull boats from the water and batten down everything, though it might not be as bad as it looks. We go to SA Hurricanologist “DryArmour” for the morning update (and stay on the “Boiling Pacific” thread for the latest):
Overnight Iselle has improved her structure and cloud tops have cooled. There is still some debate over whether Iselle has formed into an annular hurricane but in my mind there really isn’t much to debate. The shape is symmetrical, there is no real banding outside of the tightly wrapped core of cold cloud tops and dry air does not appear to be making much of a difference to this storm as it pushes through the dry environment surrounding it.
The new shift to the north in the model consensus is good news for Hawaii as there is a finger of significantly cooler water in the path as the system approaches the Big Island of Hawaii. A forecast of increased shear should also impact the tenacity of this hurricane but as mentioned before, annular storms can often defy the models and maintain a robust internal structure despite environmental conditions that might normal cause weakening or dramatic weakening on a traditional hurricane. My fingers are crossed that once again Pele is watching over the islands and her people and will cause the system to substantially unwind before going over the islands later this week.
August 4th, 2014 by admin
If you thought watching a yacht racing tracker was fun, just wait til you get your hands on this shit! It’s the Smartmine Whale Watching Map, and it tracks a dozen species of whales around the Hawaiian islands all the time. With wind and current streamlines and three different views of the ocean, it’s got plenty to play with for those of you cruising the islands or just cruising your desk.
May 8th, 2014 by admin
Some of us were extremely excited at the possibility for a Hawaii America’s Cup. Hot bodies, perfect weather, great weed, and locals that hate everyone – it would have been the ultimate ‘fuck you’ to the mainstream spectator so desperately sought out during AC34 and like San Francisco, the distance helps keep those pesky Euro-riffraff out.
Unfortunately for lovers of the Rainbow State, a strangely worded piece with a missing story link from the Maui News appears to put ‘paid’ to the idea, with blogger Robert Collias telling the tale of GGYC bigwig Norbert “The Mechanic” Bajurin and his speaking junket in Hawaii last week. Bajurin confirmed to at least one Hawaiian journalist that, between the lack of infrastructure and lack of a protected sailing venue, it wasn’t going to happen, and that ‘Perhaps, we’ll have a training thing.”
The smart money says San Francisco’s leaders need to hold the line against GGYC’s now-familiar venue-shopping charade. No one on the team wants to move again, especially not to light air San Diego or Chicago. What does Grant Dalton think? Get those answers in this great interview with RadioTalkNZ’s Tony Veitch.
May 5th, 2014 by admin
Ronnie Simpson continues with the bad luck, as well as with the perseverance that keeps seeing him through. Another great story from our West Coast (and now world) wanderer. As always, you can follow Ronnie’s adventures on his page at Open Blue Horizon, and we encourage everyone who’s enjoyed Ronnie’s great writing and enthusiasm for the sport over the past few years to send him a few shekels via Paypal – just go here and type in [email protected] as the recipient. Dig deep, please!
It’s the thing that every sailor who sails engineless fears most; dismasting or other major problem with a lee shore, big swell running and breeze-on conditions. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation that I found myself in yesterday off of Maui’s east side while sailing my cruising boat; the Cal 2-27 MONGO.
While en route from the West coast to Australia, MONGO and I had just completed a picture-perfect early season passage from San Diego to Hilo, Hawai’i and were now cruising downwind through the islands looking for surf. After three days in Hilo, MONGO and I charged the Alenuihaha Channel from Hawai’i to Maui; known as the most treacherous in the Hawaiian Island chain. The little boat reveled in the big breeze and big waves of Hawai’i, averaging 7 knots VMG for hours, deep-reefed and all. After a brief 22-hour passage, MONGO sailed into Kahului Harbor and dropped a hook.
A strong Pacific high and stalled upper atmosphere low threatened the islands with reinforced trade winds, heavy rain and a lot of swell. Anchored in Kahului, I sought the relative safety of a mooring ball on the leeward side of the island (in Lahaina) as opposed to anchoring on the windward side with a beach park serving as a lee shore. I would sail to Lahaina in the morning, hoping to hit the Pailolo Channel in between Maui and Moloka’i in the morning before the trades built to their daily max.
Up came the anchor and within minutes, MONGO was clearing Kahului’s breakwater and heading north up the coast of Maui under single-reefed main. Taking the scenic route, I stayed relatively close in to shore, watching the waves break on the rocky beach, sending white spray high into the air. Having become an avid surfer in the past two years, I am fascinated by viewing different bits of swell-exposed coastline. Engaging my self-steering wind vane “Francois” (named after VG winner Francois Gabart), I made a cup of coffee and then came back on deck to enjoy my private boat tour of Maui and another tropical morning.
With a coffee in one hand and the tiller in the other, I watched on in horror as the mast broke below the spreaders and immediately came crashing down. Why it occurred, I do not know, but all indicators lead to the starboard lower shroud’s toggle failing on my 4-month old standing rigging. The entire dismasting happened in the blink of an eye and was as unexpected as it was brief. Having now put the boat through its paces for 4,000 miles of coastal and offshore cruising, 2 haul-outs and a thorough re-fit that included new standing rigging, new rudder and all of the safety gear amongst many others boat bits, I felt that MONGO was battle tested, well maintained and imminently sea worthy. Why did the mast fail?… I was in disbelief at what had happened.
Close in to a lee shore with pounding surf and a steady 18-20 knot onshore trade wind blowing, I had no time to ponder what had failed or why. It simply had. I looked at the rig, saw that we weren’t holed and called “mayday” on VHF 16. I then grabbed the hand held VHF and immediately ran to the bow to begin trying to anchor my engineless, dismasted boat. While anchoring, I continued to confer with the Coast Guard on the radio. I dropped the rig in about 80-90 feet of water, unsuccessfully attempted to anchor in 62 feet of water and finally got the hook down in 50 feet of water. Now to gather the rig back on board.
With 9-11 foot pounding surf rolling under the boat and one wave breaking over the bow, MONGO rode the seas like a bucking bronco making the task of recovering the rig exponentially harder, while also inducing a serious rig-on-hull thrashing. I used a couple of halyards led to winches to begin winching the rig back up next to the boat. With the spar full of water and the main sail impeding my efforts, I struggled to get the rig back on board. An hour had passed since the dismasting. My anchor had held, the Coast Guard was on the scene and the rig was secured to the side of the boat. Had I had more time, perhaps another hour, I believe I could have gotten the rig back on board. But I didn’t. The Coast Guard was circling a disabled sailboat that was anchored just outside of big surf. They were ready to get the rescue under way.
With the rig secured to the side of the boat, the Coasties threw over a heaving line with two tow lines on its end. I caught the line and rigged up for tow. The USCG wanted me to cut my anchor rode, but I pleaded for them to help me retrieve my anchor. I was just dismasted; losing my primary ground tackle seemed unnecessary. The Coast Guard indulged me and powered forward so that I could retrieve the anchor and chain. We towed east to get into deeper water and then south towards the harbor. Halfway back to Kahului Harbor, a wave broke into the side of the boat and began ripping the mast away. The bottom section, which was pointed at the sky, swung precariously around the cockpit, missing my head by inches and ripping the front of the stern pulpit off. The top section of the mast began ripping stanchions out of the deck as the bottom section began to threaten not only myself, but my wind vane Francois as well. The port side of the boat was oil-canning and flexing horribly and there were already two holes in the boat by the hull-deck joint. I feared being holed worse, so I grabbed a rigging knife, cut the halyards and jettisoned the entire rig and the main sail. The man had been kicked while he was down.
With no rig over the side, we could tow at 5 knots, the helm was neutral and MONGO felt like a boat again. I cracked a luke warm Coors Light. It was the first thing to go right all morning. Back into Kahului Harbor, we towed up to the commercial wharf next to the harbor’s lone Pilot Boat and tied up. I was boarded by the Coasties, cleared and then we moved the boat to its own side-tie. My boat had been dismasted, but all’s well that ends well and we were back in port safely with minimal injury to myself, and despite MONGO getting pretty trashed, she’s salvageable. This hectic morning was finally starting to normalize. I began cleaning up the boat in an effort to restore order. An hour and a half later, an 8.2 earthquake hit Chile. Tsunami alerts were issued and the port began buzzing with activity. I was informed that the harbor closed at 6 pm and that if the tsunami posed a real threat, the area would be evacuated. The man was getting kicked again while he was down!
Side-tied to the leeward side of the wharf, I inflated my kayak (my dinghy) and rowed two anchors, chain and rode out to leeward about 40 feet. I then tied two old halyards to massive tires that acted as fenders on the wharf. I eased off on the halyards and took up slack on the anchor rode. MONGO was now secured at four corners some twelve feet to leeward of the wharf and 20 feet to windward of two anchors. Theoretically, she could rise up and down ten feet if need be. Whether or not she would push her keel through the hull remained uncertain. “Be brave, MONGO”, I whispered to the boat as I left. I took one last look and then pushed off with my skate board headed for the nearest bus stop.
I grabbed a bus and went to Lahaina; in part to get away from the boat, in part to head for the hills in light of a potential tsunami and in part to begin sorting out the logistics of what will come next. The tsunami never materialized in Hawai’i, much to my relief. A million thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to evaluate the situation and come up with a plan to move forward. I thought of the one thing that I didn’t have on board that I needed; a hacksaw. I realized I didn’t have one on board halfway between Cali and Hawai’i and added it to my list of things to buy in Honolulu. Not having this saw nearly caused me to lose the boat as the mast was pinned to the port side at a precarious angle and threatened to be holed more severely than she was, as I couldn’t remove the port lower shroud. I eventually managed to break the turnbuckle, freeing the rig.
I thought of the irony of sailing 4,000 miles (originating in Tacoma, WA) on my boat that I purchased for $4,000 only to lose the rig in 18 knots of breeze with only a reefed main up, less than a mile from land. I also thought of the irony that my friend Ruben and I left Kahului in 2012 and rescued the abandoned Bela Bartok and sailed her to Honolulu, only to be rescued myself two years later and towed into the very same harbor we had left from; Kahului Harbor, Maui. I thought of the fact that I had lost the rig on April Fool’s Day. Murphy was clearly a sailor although his sense of humor fell on deaf ears this time.
After much thought and reflection, I realize that MONGO and I were dealt a serious blow and my journey to Australia has run into its first major roadblock. Rather than throwing in the towel and abandoning the voyage, my resolve has been solidified. I will continue to sail my boat to more land falls, both near and far.
First things first, I will source an outboard motor bracket and bolt on a borrowed 4-horse outboard from the Alameda-based Valiant 32 Horizon. I then plan to head to Home Depot to purchase wood, screws and glue to build a temporary box-section mast and then set sail for Honolulu next week. Once in Honolulu, I will re-build. I will re-rig and continue on my journey, stronger than before. Hopefully you’ll follow along, and of course if you want to send any mail, I’d love to hear from you at [email protected]
I also want to extend my sincerest gratitude to the US Coast Guard out of Ma’alea Bay, Maui, the Kahului harbor masters, Zach Streitz of s/v Horizon, my friend Leah whose couch I crashed on last night, and everyone else that has sent me messages of support. Let the next phase of this journey begin.
Aloha and mahalo,
Ronnie Simpson, s/v MONGO
April 3rd, 2014 by admin
Assisted by some tenacious questioning from TV3 (NZ) host Paul Henry, Dean Barker quite clearly lays much of the blame for ETNZ’s America’s Cup loss right at the feet of Grant Dalton, and not just as the guy with the reins. Barker blames Dalton for allowing Oracle to take the famous ‘lay day’ and says Winnie MacFarlane was a far better grinder, and goes even deeper – though they did not get into the single biggest reason they lost the Cup – ETNZ’s acceptance of the ‘post-Bart’ safety recommendations that allowed a ten-knot wind speed to be simply too low to allow the boats to finish a race under the time limit. This one is worth watching, and tomorrow we’ll have part two of this excellent interview. Click the pic or go here for the full ten-minute chat. The America’s Cup Anarchy thread is already blowing up…add your comment here.
In other AC news, we hear that Hawaii is actually getting real consideration for the next America’s Cup, and for the first time, we’re not discounting it as yet another negotiation ploy by Ehman and Co. to get a better deal out of San Francisco – especially with SF recently announcing that the loss to the City from providing services to the Cup is more than double that initially thought. Pros? You’re virtually guaranteed a massive crowd thanks to easy flights from Australia and New Zealand, it’s never cold and wet and foggy and nasty, you have a local government that desperately needs the tourism dollars, and Larry already owns an island there. Cons: American and European fans will be in the firm minority…but thanks to Youtube and Stan Honey and the fact that Louis Vuitton never wants to be seen in the same zip code as Red Bull anyway, no one really cares…do they?
February 12th, 2014 by admin
Today we give you the best Video Friday we’ve had in quite a while! We’ve got launching Optis, dancing Minis, crashing SB20s, a massive storm, and the final Little AC wrap. Enjoy them all, and enjoy your weekend from everyone here at Sailing Anarchy. Got an awesome video for next week? Send it in.
More foiling. More crashes. More interviews with some of the world’s fastest men and women. And of course, more Gretta.
You’ve been waiting for it patiently, so here’s the full, 20 minute long, 2013 McDougall + McConaghy International Moth World Championship final highlight reel from Penalty Box Productions. Enjoy!
We don’t know who he is, but this Seattle grommet has bigger balls than we do! Check this Opti-crusher out on a 30-knot day in Shilshole Bay last week, and note his smile. Also note the distinct lack of helmets, lawyers, and nanny-state, helicopter-parent sensibility. And someone, please let us know who this grom is; he needs some SA gear and we’re gonna get him some.
The same St. Jude storms that threw the Mini Transat and TJV into such disarray also did a number on Scandinavia. The storms were the most powerful to hit Northern Europe in more than a decade, and billions in property damage, hundreds of boats destroyed, and 16 deaths are the weather’s legacy. Here’s a look at what 120 knot winds look like on the Svenburg Sund in Denmark, and there’s more video here.
Target Rich Environment
Sometimes, hitting those puffy inflatable tubes is just too tempting. This from last month’s SB20 Worlds in Hyeres, where someone must have painted targets all over the RIB at the pin end of the line. Chat here and thanks to Presuming Ed for this one.
Nothing To Do But Dance
With about 6 weeks of delays, postponements, and other misadventures, the Minis are indeed restless – none more so than the handful of prototype skippers who made it to Sada while the rest of the fleet ended up…elsewhere. They put together this little tribute to the Mini Transat Race Committee; it’s sort-of called “Where’s The Race Committee” and it should crack you up even if you don’t speak French. Latest on the Mini fleet (including another boat lost on the delivery) here. Thanks to the Moody Frog for this one.
November 8th, 2013 by admin
Just last week we gave you the news about SailDrone’s historic unmanned voyage from ‘frisco to Hawaii. With their safety-orange drone safely tied down, we’re getting project designer and leader Richard Jenkins on the line for another great SA Innerview.
Whether you’re a tech freak, a RC sailboat lover, or just a lover of all things dronish, get your questions in about this potentially revolutionary little sailboat here, and Mr. Clean will make sure the good ones get asked in our video Skype chat. Deadline for questions: Friday at 1300 GMT. Saildrone photos with more here.
November 7th, 2013 by admin
Frequent visitors to this front page know we’re pretty infatuated with unmanned sailboats, and we’ve followed the cool HarborWing project for years. But while Harborwing seems focuses on finding coastal tasks for its unmanned, winged platform, the SailDrone is off doing its own Transpac – and it’s almost there.
That’s right – according to the SailDrone Tracker, this 15-foot unmanned trimaran has averaged almost 5 knots through its first 1745 NM from San Francisco to Hawaii, with just 447 to go. It’s controlled via its own navigation package combined with instructions via satellite link and a smartphone. The coolest part? The SailDrone isn’t just for science, though it’s already being tested for three big scientific missions; it’s also a cargo carrier! Can you imagine thousands of these things, each carrying 100 KG of cargo around the world? Autonomous, hive-based transport via wind power seems like a pretty cool solution to all sorts of shipping problems, and a boat designed to be submerged and rolled and keep on sailing…what an awesome way to send a birthday present to your sailing pal. Never mind the Colombian cartels; a little camo paint and a production line for these things and you’ve got a very nice way to millions worth of drugs. Not that we would ever, ever suggest that such a thing would be good. Nope, not us.
More discussion here and a pretty awesome video of the SailDrone rounding the Farallones Islands here.
October 28th, 2013 by admin
It’s not everyday that one of the original Anarchists becomes a two-time World Champion, so we’ll take this opportunity to congratulate our good friend Bora on his Hawaiian Moth Worlds win (and wish him a happy birthday as well). Given the dearth of USAnian names at the pointy end of the highest-performance fleets of foilers, multihulls, and offshore racers, how awesome that we’ve got someone who can take out the Outerridges and Burlings and Greenhalghs of the world on a level playing field; a racer that can take the helm of a foiling 45 or 72 and do it, and America, proud.
As for the Moth – that little thing that completely screwed up the sailing world’s conception of speed forever – the boat seems to be going from strength to strength despite inconsistent marketing, fragility, and high cost for such a little boat. The Hawaii worlds was limited out at 80 boats (due to space in the bay), but with the Mach 2 continuing to roll (350 boats sold in 4 years), the new Exocet proving its got wheels, a new Prowler on the way, and a rumored new American boat in the wings, we could very easily see close to 150 moths racing in Hayling Island next year, and even more at the Melbourne, OZ worlds in 2015. Here is the full rundown of everyone’s hull, foils, mast, and sails from Hawaii thanks to Andrew Lechte; Bora explains his speed in the interview above with Gretta Kruesi and Mr. Clean, but attributes much of it to his Lister/Damic main foil and the extensive aero fairings all over his boat that he printed in his basement on a 3-D printer.
What’s the secret to these most gucci of dinghies selling like hotcakes and attracting some of the biggest numbers of any class? It’s simple: SPEED. Here are the important numbers: 15-18 knots upwind (and getting higher and faster all the time). 25-30 knots downwind. 10-15 grand used. Nothing else even comes close, and the mothies tell us that a top Moth is faster than pretty much anything on the water until you get to about 45 feet…the AC45, specifically…
October 23rd, 2013 by admin